Next year's entry in EA's college football franchise, which the publisher shelved last week, was set to feature a heavy focus on customization, said a former member of the development team in an interview with Kotaku.
According to Kotaku, the developers at EA Tiburon — the studio behind the series formerly known as NCAA Football — were working on next year's game right up until they were told at an all-hands meeting on Sept. 26 that EA had decided it wasn't going to release a college football game in 2014. That internal announcement happened shortly before EA made the news public that afternoon on the company blog.
EA released that statement about an hour before news broke that EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, which handles licensing for most of the schools that appear in the game, had settled their player likeness lawsuit with student-athletes, reportedly to the tune of $40 million.
NCAA Football designer Alex Howell told Kotaku that the team had been working for years on a deep customization suite that might have debuted next year, in a game that would reportedly have been called "College Football 15" on current- and next-generation consoles, had EA gone ahead with it. According to Howell, the plan was to give users free rein over elements like teams, players, stadiums and uniforms. In addition, the mode would have allowed users to craft their own storylines for a college football season.
"I've always known, and believed, that users now are creating things that you (as a designer) could never possibly imagine," said Howell. "So we need to put the game in their hands."
Howell added that the customization features had been in development long before the litigation ramped up, and was not a response to the looming threat of the franchise being shelved because of the suit. But with EA bowing out of the NCAA Football series, at least for the time being, we may never see those elements in a college football game.